Versatility of digital photography
Explaining the main elements of the digital photography
memory card, flash stick, zip etc
CD, DVD, web
PC, High St
Home / office printer, High St
There are eleven possible direct paths between the
five main components of the digital photography process. From camera
to print, and taking in storage, almost all of these are direct and
can be achieved by the photographer.
This puts the photographer in control of the whole process, or gives the choice of handing over any element. This degree of control and choice is one of the main benefits and attractions of digital over chemical photography.
The camera is obviously the key of the whole process. The camera can hook up directly to a computer, even to a printer, but it is usually more convenient to use a card reader as an interim storage medium.
The memory card is sometimes described as 'digital film' because it is the medium on which the photograph is immediately stored. The card can stay in the camera while the pictures are transferred but there are many advantages in removing the card and using a card reader. The first of these is that cameras are heavy on battery power and you will be using this during transfer unless you go to the extra trouble of plugging it into the mains.
A card reader plugs into your computer and your photographs are available for viewing, editing, or transferring. Alternatively you can take the card along to any up-to-date processor and have your photographs printed directly from the card.
Many home printers these days will also print direct from the card.
The file which constitutes all of the information about a photograph (more than just the image) is the digital equivalent of a negative. Because it is digital data it will never degrade and will not reduce in quality however often it is transferred. This of course does not mean that the storage medium cannot degrade or that the file may become corrupt if improperly transferred but there is a wide choice of media and backups can be kept on moret han one.
The first medium is likely to be your hard disk on the computer but this should never be relied upon for longer than processing time.
The most popular medium at the moment is the CD, which is rapidly being overtaken by DVD.
Processing used to mean the chemical development of a negative or transparency and and the creation of a subsequent print. With digital it is quite possible to go sttaight from camera to print, but let's assume that the picture isn't perfect. Once it is on the computer there is a vast array of software available to enable you to make simple corrections or crops, or to transform your photograph completely.
Finally, to print. Although many people still keep it simple and take their snaps or masterpieces in to be printed, today's generation of inkjet printers, combined with photographis quality inks and papers, are capable of producing superb photographs at up to exhibition size prints.
Printers will produce a picture direct from the card or computer, or - via the computer - from a long-term storage medium.
There are also a number of online printshops which will accept your photograph by email and post the finished prints to you.
If there is one quality which makes digital excel over chemical photography it is the element of choice. You can control the whole of the process, or any part, at any stage.
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